Writer / director Renuka Jeyapalan‘s “Stay the Night” is a lukewarm romance movie that’s based on a one night stand. It’s forgettable, tedious, and bland, but it is at least as plausible as any other film in the genre.
Things aren’t going so great for Grace (Andrea Bang). Single and pushing 30, she’s had another disappointing day at work and feels even more like an outcast and failure. That evening, Grace meets professional athlete Carter Stone (Joe Scarpellino) and decides that while he may not be the future Mr. Right, he’s definitely Mr. Right Now. Grace decides it’s time for a one night stand, and it doesn’t go well. Instead of heating up the bedroom, the pair end up spending the evening roaming the city streets, walking and talking about their hopes, dreams, and desires. An unexpected connection begins to develop, especially when Grace lets it slip that she’s a 27 year old virgin.
The film has a rough start that picks up a bit once Grace’s big secret is revealed. It explains a lot about the very awkward and unsuccessful one night stand that happened hours before. There isn’t much to the story, and Scarpellino and Bang do the film no favors with their total lack of charm. The setup and premise may be there, but a successful romance needs at least a basic level of chemistry between the two lead actors: and they don’t have it.
The weak performances are exacerbated by the bland, uninteresting characters and stagnant dialogue. For a film that’s so talky, the conversations need to be compelling. They are not.
While it may seem unfair to compare this romance to similar films like “Before Midnight,” it’s inevitable. If you’re going to have two characters chat in person for almost the entire duration of a film, then the writing and chemistry must both be there working to move the relationship forward. There’s just too much lacking in “Stay the Night,” and it’s a bummer of a romance.
By: Louisa Moore